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Blackpool transport meets tourism boom with digital network

Transport services authority of Blackpool looks to benefit from digital radio system being designed and installed by TES Communication Solutions

Just weeks after the city announced a raft of installations of full-fibre networks, and as the resort’s famous illuminations display have been extended to provide a boost to its tourism season, Blackpool Transport Services has undertaken a digital radio upgrade to help make its bus and tram operations one of the most modern in the UK and to meet demand from local users and tourists in the resort.

Blackpool Transport Services operates buses and trams throughout Lancashire’s Fylde Coast and believes it can benefit from the new system being designed and installed by North West England communications specialist TES Communication Solutions. The radio upgrade will see the transport operator move away from conventional analogue radio technology to a more modern and sophisticated digital system.

The new radio system will include a multi-terminal digital control desk to monitor and manage the vehicle fleet, which the operator said is essential for the efficient management of events such as roadworks, diversions or breakdowns.

The works will include a new independent and resilient wide-area voice and data backhaul infrastructure meaning continuity of operations even in the event of power cuts or cellular outages.

Each vehicle, including Palladium buses and the modern Flexity2 trams, will have a new on-board radio installed, while inspectors will be equipped with mobile devices to allow them to communicate by voice and data to the main control desk or directly to vehicles. This means that drivers will be equipped with better and faster information, said the operator, and be able to relay this to customers, offering an improved journey experience.

The digital system is also said to have been designed to heighten passenger and driver safety by using a dedicated control channel that will always prioritise emergency calls, allowing for help and assistance to be arranged immediately, while all emergency calls are recorded for evidence should they be needed.

The upgraded system will also have the potential to allow Blackpool Transport buses to communicate with the central control centre when operating out of the greater Blackpool and Fylde area, allowing the operator to provide more long-distance services such as rail replacement buses.

Similar technology has already been installed by TES Communication Solutions for the West Midlands Metro as it undergoes major expansion. The new system will allow Blackpool Transport to better manage its fleet of vehicles as the tram network expands to a new terminus at Blackpool North train station.

“Our relationship with TES and our work to upgrade and future-proof our communications system is part of our wider strategic plans to embrace digital technology and continue to offer the very best for our customers and our staff,” said Wayne Smith, operations manager at Blackpool Transport. “Being able to better support our front-line staff with additional real-time information is a really positive step forward.”

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